(Bio)politics, affects, and emotions in literature and performance since WWII

deadline for submissions: 
September 23, 2016
full name / name of organization: 
Antonia Peroikou (University of Cyprus) and Stefania Porcelli (City University of New York) / ACLA 2017

The conception of biopolitics and the constitution of biopolitical power have become increasingly important for the study of political science, especially in the wake of one of the biggest shifts in population in modern history. Inspired by the ground-breaking research of Michel Foucault and the consequent development of this problematic in a variety of theoretical schools, political scientists have started addressing rationalities of power that go beyond traditional sovereign-territorial logics. Indeed, political categories such as that of population are now treated as affective structures. Affects have entered the extended definition of the political, investigated both as unmeasurable forces and as discreet emotions. However, the relation between affect and power is still at the center of an ongoing debate in which general agreement hasn’t been reached yet.

With art being the privileged space where these complex relations can be illuminated and explored, this panel solicits discussion on the ways in which an engagement with affects and emotions can inform political discussions, activism, artistic interventions, and critical academic research through the lenses of literary and artistic production since WWII. In examining emotions and affective atmospheres as modes of biopower, we invite papers focusing on works from the 20th and 21th century literature, critical theory, theatre, film, and performance art. Some of the issues this panel seeks to answer include, but are not limited to:

  • The representation and entrance of emotions in the (bio) political sphere.
  • Representations of history through “emotionally charged” works.
  • The creation and/or conceptualization of “intensity” in the work of art.  
  • The intersection of affect theory and aesthetics, critical animal studies, disability studies, postcolonial studies, and/or queer theory.

Please submit a 250-word abstract through the ACLA website between 9/1-9/23. Please contact Antonia Peroikou and Stefania Porcelli for questions or comment at sporcelli@gradcenter.cuny.edu and peroikou.antonia@ucy.ac.cy.

The American Comparative Literature Association’s 2017 Annual Meeting will take place at Utrecht University in Utrecht, the Netherlands July 6-9, 2017.


Early July 2016 seminar cfps post on the ACLA website. 

September 1-23, 2016, each panelist submits a paper proposal through the ACLA website. 

September 24-30, seminar chairs submit to ACLA paper proposals. 

Early November, ACLA notifies seminar and panelists regarding acceptance.